There are many obvious advantages to buying a used truck. Most importantly, used trucks are much cheaper than brand new ones. However, price is not the only important factor that should be the driving factor. A good thing about second-hand trucks is they are built sturdier than smaller vehicles. When taken good care of, they can last much longer than cars, vans, and other smaller vehicles.
Inspection Checklist for a Pre-Owned Truck
Like any other pre-owned vehicle, a used truck is also likely to have certain problems. However, this doesn’t mean that all the options available in the market are unworthy of purchase. All you have to do is inspect a second-hand truck using the following tips and checklist before deciding to purchase.
Before you start inspecting key components meticulously, it is recommended to begin by following these tips:
- Check the truck during the daytime so that you can easily check the truck for any body damages.
- Look for any signs of raised areas on the roof and other flat surfaces, as this can mean rusting underneath.
- The door panels must fit properly.
- Check the coolant fluid for its colour. It should have a proper green or orange colour.
- Check the tires for any signs of extreme tread wear and leakage.
- Start the truck and notice if there are any unusual sounds.
- Check all the electrical switches and lights.
Once you have checked these basics, take the truck out for a test drive. Make sure to drive 10 miles or more. Pay close attention to how the vehicle drives. Once you shut off the truck, let it cool for some time and re-start it.
Once you have completed the basic checks, it is recommended to conduct a meticulous inspection. This includes the following steps:
1. Engine Inspection
Inspect the engine after it has cooled down. The inspection should cover the following points:
- There should be no oil on the ground under the hood
- Check if any wires are hanging loose
- Check the belts and hoses
2. Brake Inspection
There should be no compromise on the condition of the brake system.
- Make a visual inspection of the brakes
- The rubber in the brake pads must show signs of use equivalent to the mileage and age of the vehicle
- During the test drive, check how the brake pedal feels
- A spongy pedal is often a sign of brake line leakage
- Bumpy pedals mean the brake rotors have some issue
3. Check the Suspension
Trucks are heavy vehicles and even the slightest bumps and jerks can have a significant impact on the suspension. When buying a second-hand truck, you must ensure the suspension is in great condition. Check the suspension using the following tips:
- Check whether the truck is on a standing level
- Bounce the corners and good suspension should prevent excess bouncing
- There should be only a single rebound
- Tug on the front of each tire and check for any sound from the wheel
Look for any squeaking, clunking, or groaning sounds.
4. Inspect the Tires
A used truck is expected to have some wear on its tires, but it should be in proportion to the mileage and age of the vehicle. A truck with 20,000 miles on it should still be wearing its original tires and in good condition too. If the odometer reads a low number, but the tires look beaten, it can be a sign of tampering with the meter. The condition of the tires also speaks about the kind of drivers the truck has had.
5. Battery Inspection
The truck’s battery can also give you a glimpse into its story so far. Check the built-in indicator:
- A green indicator shows that the battery is in good condition
- A yellow/black indicator shows that the battery is either dying or is already dead
It is best to get a trusted mechanic to check the battery using a load test.
You should also check the service records to determine how well the truck has been maintained. It will be best to have a specialized truck service provider inspect a used vehicle before you make a decision. An experienced truck repairs and maintenance specialist can identify potential issues where you may never be able to do so. They can also identify a gem of a vehicle when you come across one.